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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Harry Davies

Israel Adesanya warned being UFC champion "will get worse" ahead of title fight

Israel Adesanya has been told by UFC legend Georges St-Pierre that being a champion gets worse with every fight.

Adesanya looks to make the sixth defence his middleweight title against former kickboxing rival Alex Pereira, at UFC 281 In New York on November 12. The Nigerian-born New Zealander has been criticised by fans for his "boring" performances, with many spectators spotted leaving the venue before the final round of his latest title defence in July.

It's the same criticism that St-Pierre, who is considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, faced when he reigned as welterweight champion in the promotion for several years. St-Pierre, who retired from fighting in 2013 but made one-off comeback fight to win the middleweight title against Michael Bisping in 2017, recently had dinner with Adesanya and told him the pressure of being a champion only gets worse from fight to fight.

Who wins at UFC 281 next month - Israel Adesanya or Alex Pereira? Let us know your prediction in the comments section below

"I think that's one of the reasons why you get so much touched with these criticisms," St-Pierre told Adesanya in a video posted on the champion's YouTube channel. "It's good that you use it as a fuel to motivate you because it gives you more energy to prove them wrong, but don't pass the line of doing this. That's the thing, it's heavy the crown, my friend and it's only the beginning for you.

"I'm telling you the truth, heavy is the crown. Nobody can understand, but it gets worse. It add more weights to your shoulder Every fight is bigger and bigger, so the criticism is worse and the expectation is more. This adventure came change you from the inside out and it changes the brain, you don't want that."

Adesanya has been beaten twice by Pereira in kickboxing, losing a controversial decision to the Brazilian in 2016 before being brutally knocked out by him the following year. 'Stylebender' referenced the 2013 Disney film Frozen by vowing to leave his rival "frozen like Elsa" in their upcoming title fight, of which bookies have Adesanya has the favourite to win.

Pereira, who only has three UFC fights under his belt, said that he's been watching his old rival Adesanya closely for the past three years despite only signing with the promotion last year. "Two years before signing [for the UFC], I already wanted to join the promotion," he told MMA Hoje. "I won’t say I’ve been studying him specifically, but I’ve been watching him, his behaviour. The way he moves, the way he fights."

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